The “zealous approach” being taken by National Employment Rights Agency officers to enforcing regulations must be relaxed according to Fianna Fáil Galway West TD Frank Fahey.
Dep Fahey said he has been contacted by local businesses in the hospitality and manufacturing industries in Galway which are “very concerned” about what they feel is “the unnecessarily zealous approach” being taken by some NERA officers in the enforcement of regulations.
He said an example is of a local hotel where employees might sleep on the premises overnight to do an early shift following a late evening shift.
“This can suit employees because their working days are closer together, allowing them better time off,” he said. “It also reduces some of the travel from their home to their work. However, NERA regulations stipulate there must be a minimum of an 11 hours break between shifts, and they are insisting on the strict enforcement of this, regardless of the wishes of the people on the ground.”
Dep Fahey said it is “very important” that the “high standards” which have been achieved in employment rights are maintained, it is “not fair” that “outside officers are interfering in work arrangements which both employers and employees are very happy with”.
He said: “When people are happy with a certain work arrangement, and their rights are not exploited, NERA should not be causing them this extra hassle at a time when doing business is already very difficult.”
Dep Fahey is now calling on the Minister for Enterprise Batt O’Keeffe to consider looking at this issue, to cut the budget for NERA, and see if it could be amalgamated with another regulatory organisation in the near future.